IT'S AN AFGHAN THANKSGIVING, CHARLIE BROWN
What I’m Thankful For (Good Grief...)
An old spate of unsolicited sarcasm from Buck Sargent
FOB Salerno, Afghanistan
-I’m thankful for the short amount of time it takes for me to break into a sweat when standing outside in the shade in NOVEMBER.
-I’m thankful for the several times per day that I want to bitch-slap fellow members of my own squad.
-I’m thankful for the plentiful suicide fly bombers that refuse to leave me alone, even after being violently swatted half a dozen times.
-I’m thankful for the total irrelevance of weekends.
-I’m thankful for the “butterface” FOB famales who parade around like prom queens and get treated as such by opposite sex-starved joes. Back in the real world, these girls wouldn’t rate a second glance by death row inmates.
-I’m thankful for the fact that Muslim countries frown upon alcohol, allowing me the unique privilege of consuming sparkling grape juice on Thanksgiving Day.
-I’m thankful for being excluded from the Turkey Bowl touch football tournament solely because I am not an “E-6 or above” (translation: not fat, old, or slow enough to play).
-I’m thankful for the fact that Haji has the week off for Ramadan, allowing us the distinct privilege of pulling eight hours of KP per day while the battalion cooks sit on their fat duffs.
-I’m thankful for our NCOs, who do the least amount of work yet bitch and complain the most.
-I’m thankful for the chance to patrol endlessly in the back of five-ton trucks to the point of complete central nervous system failure.
-I’m thankful for the wonderful group of people known as the Taliban, without whom I may never have had this opportunity for travel and exploration of foreign, utterly worthless cultures.
-I’m thankful for the existence of camel spiders the approximate size of small house pets.
-I’m thankful for the chance to walk up mountains so arduous and steep that one quickly transitions from looking for mines in order to avoid them to praying you step on one in order to put you out of your own misery.
-I’m thankful for MAFAETNCED (Military Acronyms For Absolutely Everything That Nobody Can Ever Decipher).
-I’m thankful for the lifetime of back pain I will undoubtedly have to endure as a result of sleeping on either an unsupportive military cot or the side of a mountain for nearly a year straight.
-I’m thankful for all the nubile Afghan girls who perpetually cover themselves from head to toe in public, as well as for the aged Afghan womenfolk who regrettably do not.
-I’m thankful for the pestering hordes of illiterate Afghan ragamuffins who nonetheless beg incessantly for pens.
-I’m thankful for the wide availability of pull-tab soda, proving that Afghanistan is stuck in both the 70s and the Stone Age simultaneously.
-I’m thankful for the enumerable times I repeat the mantra, “I f**king hate this place,” to no one in particular and for no particular reason in a given day.
-I’m thankful for the equivalent weight of a ten-year-old child that we have to wear on our persons as we hump across mountain ridges at 5,000 feet.
-I’m thankful for the everyman soldier known simply as “Joe,” and his plethora of inane, apocryphal, or just outright BS stories. (“No shit, there I was… mud-wrestling seven different crocodiles on the side of an active volcano with nothing but my shower shoes and a rusty E-tool…”)
-I’m thankful for squad members who think Xbox Madden football games are real and passively watch them as such, complete with requisite whooping and hollering -- FOR HOURS ON END.
-I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel over Afghan “roads,” aka unimproved dirt paths, the basic maintenance of which apparently last occurred during Alexander the Great’s brief detour on the far eastern leg of his 3rd century B.C. “Conquer the World” tour.
-I’m thankful for the five-second-delay “morale” phones that get worse reception than a whore in church. (“Hi, it’s me! What? Hello? No…you--go ahead. Are you still there? Who? Can you hear me now?” Click. “*#@%!&%#$!@!”)
-I’m thankful for not knowing when we’re leaving this place until we actually set foot on the bird home. (“Honey, they’re sending us off to war.” Oh my goodness! When will you be back?! “I don't know. But make sure little Sally and Jack, Jr. get into good colleges, okay?”)
-And last but not least, I’m thankful for Osama bin Laden and his merry band of homicidal hangers-on, without whom none of this would have been possible.
Happy Turkey Day, Osama!